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Unit 6 (The Splendid Little War) begins today and runs through Monday, February 26 at midnight.

Please note: the course midpoint is FAST APPROACHING and soft point submissions have been extremely limited! Monday, March 12th at midnight is the deadline for earning 10 bonus points -- for achieving 50 or more soft points by the course midpoint.

Remember to review the guidelines for soft point submissions here: ...
http://historyrfd.net/isern/104/assignments104.htm

and how you are graded for the course here:
http://historyrfd.net/isern/104/grades104.htm

Questions? Please let me know.

Thanks - KT!

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This document lays out the options for earning up to 100 soft points as part of the 350 total points possible in the course. There are four assignment options:
historyrfd.net

Unit 6 Discussion: (reply to this post)

“Why the National Vanity of the Americans Is More Restless and Captious than that of the English”

Tocqueville believes that Americans are way too sensitive about national honor and vanity. ...
• Did the national vanity of Americans play a part in the Spanish War?
• Is Tocqueville right in his opinions about sensitive Americans? Have you seen any evidence of it in discussions in your list?

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Unit 5: The Populist Revolt begins today and ends Monday, February 19 @ midnight.

Enjoy your week!

Unit 5 Discussion:

“The Principle of the Sovereignty of the People in America”

Sovereignty is where power comes from, where the power lies. It seems appropriate that in connection with lecture material on the People's Party, we should read about the sovereignty of the people. ...
• Tocqueville says, "The people reign in the American political world as the Deity does in the universe." If that were so, then why did the Populist movement arise outside the regular political parties?
• Tocqueville also says that "the wily and despotic of every age" would abuse the idea of "the will of the nation." What is he talking about here?

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Unit 4 Begins Today. Quiz deadline is midnight next Monday, 2/12.

**IMPORTANT REMINDER: Remember to be strategic in planning your soft point assignments. There is a 10 point bonus for achieving 50 soft points by the course midpoint. (the conclusion of Unit 8 on Monday, March 12 at midnight)

Also, remember the submission guidelines: ...
1) no more than 1 submission in any 7-day period
2) no more than 3 submissions in any calendar month

As always, please let me know if you have questions, comments, etc.

Thanks -- KT!

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Unit 4 Discussion:
“Unlimited Power of the Majority in the United States and Its Consequences”

Here Tocqueville puts forward his most famous and controversial concept, the "tyranny of the majority." He applies this both to political life and to social custom. In this course I intend also to connect Tocqueville's ideas of majority rule and minority rights to the subjects of immigration and ethnicity.
• What is "tyranny of the majority"? Can you give an example?...
• Comment on: "When I refuse to obey an unjust law, I do not contest the right of the majority to command, but I simply appeal from the sovereignty of the people to the sovereignty of mankind."
• Is there true freedom of thought in the United States, a democracy?
• Can you apply Tocqueville's ideas to questions of national unity, group rights, and individual liberties such as are debated in America today?

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! SUBMITTING SOFT POINTS !

As you begin to complete your soft point assignments (film reviews, book reviews, etc.), please note the following:

Submit via the course Facebook page. ...
1. Select "Posts" from the left navigation pane
2. Select the appropriate assignment option and "reply" to that thread.
3. You may need to scroll down a ways. The further the semester progresses, the further you may need to scroll down.

See sample screenshot below. Questions? Let me know.

Thanks -- KT!

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No automatic alt text available.

SOFT POINTS OPTION 1:
DEMOCRACY IN YOUR COMMUNITY

Please comment below with your submissions for the Democracy soft points option.

...Continue Reading
This document lays out the options for earning up to 100 soft points as part of the 350 total points possible in the course. There are four assignment options:
historyrfd.net

SOFT POINTS OPTION 2:
HISTORY IN YOUR COMMUNITY

Please comment below with your submission for the History Museum soft point option.

...

Pay very close attention to the guidelines via the links and scoring rubric below:
http://historyrfd.net/isern/104/assignments104.htm
http://historyrfd.net/isern/104/grades104.htm

History in Your Community
The assignment addresses two of the goals of the course: learning to think like a historian, and proficiency in discursive prose. Do two things to complete the assignment.
1. Visit a historical museum or a historic site. It is not possible to define precisely what constitutes a “historical museum” or a “historic site,” and so let’s stick with museums or sites that are officially constituted or designated as such. Historical museums are constituted by historical organizations; historic sites are designated (and usually marked) by historical agencies. You already know what I’m talking about in a common-sense way, but I want to be as explicit as possible for purposes of the assignment. If you have a question whether a museum or site is suitable, ask your instructor. The museum or site can be anywhere—in Fargo, in your old home town, in your current residence, in Moscow, for that matter—but it must be a physical museum or site, not a virtual one.
2. Write a paragraph (about 100 words) reporting on your visit to the museum or site and your thoughts about it. This paragraph should be sound in composition and should be not only descriptive but also reflective. You should make an evaluation of the museum or site in the manner of a historian (see remarks and rubric below). When you have completed your paragraph, post it to the appropriate discussion in Facebook.
Here’s a hint about evaluating a museum or site in the manner of a historian. Recall the discussion in Lecture 1 about the purposes of History: judgment and identity. Museums and sites are about identity. In constituting a museum or designating a site, someone is asserting an identity. Someone is telling a particular story in a certain way. The story has purposes, values, and interpretations in it. Sometimes these are explicit, sometimes you have to induce them, and sometimes they are sort of mixed up, but it is up to you to note and evaluate them. Concisely, since this is a short assignment.
The assignment earns up to 30 points toward your soft-points total in the course. The assignment may be repeated, with each instance worth up to 30 soft points.
Rubric for Grading “History in Your Community”
- Is the museum or site clearly identified—name, location, organization, date of visit? - 2
- Is the museum or site described clearly and concisely? - 10
- Are the outstanding features of the museum or site noted? - 6
- Does the report evaluate the purposes, values, and interpretations conveyed by the museum or site? - 10
- Is the report sound as to rhetoric and style? - 2
Total Points Possible – 30

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This document lays out the options for earning up to 100 soft points as part of the 350 total points possible in the course. There are four assignment options:
historyrfd.net

SOFT POINTS OPTION 3:
Book Review

Please comment below with your submission for the Book Review soft point option.

...

Pay very close attention to the guidelines via the links and scoring rubric below:
http://historyrfd.net/isern/104/assignments104.htm
http://historyrfd.net/isern/104/grades104.htm

Book Review
The assignment addresses two of the goals of the course: learning to think like a historian, and proficiency in discursive prose. Here is the assignment:
1. Select and read a book pertaining to the content of the course. Ordinarily this will be a book (not Tocqueville, but a book about him is fine) listed in a study guide for one of the lectures. If you’re going to read something not listed in a study guide, then it should be approved in advance by your instructor. Generally the book should be a nonfiction work of History; in some cases a novel or a work from some other genre may be approved, provided it has clear historical import.
2. Write a critical review of the book. Submit your review via the appropriate discussion forum in Facebook.
The assignment earns up to 40 points toward your soft-points total in the course. The assignment may be repeated, with each instance worth up to 40 soft points. Some specifications:
· Length: 300 words
· Use of first person (I, me) is OK, but don’t overdo it.
· When you write about the book or its author, write in present tense (what we call the “literary present”).
· When you write about historical events, write in past tense (the historical past).
· In college you don’t write book reports, you write book reviews. You take a critical approach to the work. Here are some tips for getting into a critical posture.
· Fundamentally, you are not writing about the events of the past. You are writing about the book and its author. You will mention historical events, of course, perhaps relate some of them, but the book and its author are your subjects.
· Spend only a few words, perhaps one brief paragraph, summarizing content. Tell what the author does in the book, capture the argument, and give some highlights. Key point: be sure to state the author’s purpose in writing the book. The author’s purpose is the basis for evaluating the book. (Be sure to read the preface, because historical authors usually say in their prefaces what they are trying to do with their books.)
· Evaluate how well the author achieves her purpose. Does the work stay on message? Does if martial good evidence? Does the author communicate findings well?
· And if the author does achieve her purpose, so what? What is the significance of it?
Rubric for Grading Book Reviews
- Is the review of appropriate length? - 5
- Is the work summarized fairly and concisely, including a plain statement of purpose? - 10
- Does the review evaluate the success of the book? - 10
- Does the review assess the significance of the book? - 10
- Is the review sound as to rhetoric and style? - 5
Total Points Possible – 40

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This document lays out the options for earning up to 100 soft points as part of the 350 total points possible in the course. There are four assignment options:
historyrfd.net

SOFT POINTS OPTION 4:
Film Review

Please comment below with your submission for the Film Review soft point option.

...

Pay very close attention to the guidelines via the links and scoring rubric below: http://historyrfd.net/isern/104/assignments104.htm
http://historyrfd.net/isern/104/grades104.htm

Film Review
The assignment addresses two of the goals of the course: learning to think like a historian, and proficiency in discursive prose. Here is what you do.
1. Select and view a film (video, DVD) pertaining to the content of the course. Ordinarily this will be a film listed in a study guide for one of the lectures. If you’re going to view something not listed in a study guide, then it should be approved in advance by your instructor. Generally it should be a feature film; in some cases documentaries may be approved.
2. Write a critical review of the film. Submit your review to the appropriate Facebook forum.
The assignment earns up to 20 points toward your soft-points total in the course. The assignment may be repeated, with each instance worth up to 20 soft points. Some specifications:
· Length: 300 words
· Use of first person (I, me) is OK, but don’t overdo it.
· When you write about the film, its makers, or the plot of the film, write in present tense (what we call the “literary present”).
· When you write about historical events, write in past tense (the historical past).
You need to do a bit more than tell the story of the film and whether you liked it or not. Here are some tips for getting into a critical posture.
· To begin with, fundamentally, you are not writing about the events of the past. You are writing about the film and its interpretations of historical events. You will mention historical events, of course, perhaps relate some of them, but the film and its interpretations are your subjects.
· Spend only a few words, perhaps one brief paragraph, summarizing content. Tell the plot of the film, including key elements such as time, place, and characters.
· Discuss the film’s relation to historical events.
· Evaluate the film’s interpretation of historical events. What do the film’s makers wish you to believe about the past?
· Comment on other aspects of the film’s quality; this can be anything from plot to musical score.
Rubric for Grading Film Reviews
- Is the review of appropriate length? - 2
- Is the content of the film summarized fairly and concisely? - 6
- Does the review discuss the relation of the film to historical events? - 6
- Does the review assess the film’s interpretation of historical events? - 4
- Is the review sound as to rhetoric and style? - 2
Total Points Possible - 20

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This document lays out the options for earning up to 100 soft points as part of the 350 total points possible in the course. There are four assignment options:
historyrfd.net

Unit 3 begins today and concludes Monday, February 5th at midnight.

Lecture link is:
http://historyrfd.net/isern/104/lecture3.htm

During the time after the Civil War and continuing into the early 1900s, business growth and business values drove the country. This lecture explains the intellectual basis for the American philosophy of free enterprise, and then looks at growth in several key industrial sectors. It concludes by con...
historyrfd.net

Unit 3 Discussion: (Please reply to this thread with your discussion response).

“How Equality Suggests to the Americans the Idea of the Indefinite Perfectibility of Man”
Americans, with their revolutionary heritage and frontier background, are great believers in progress, in the idea that things are getting better and better. Chapter 18 pertains to this American belief in progress—a basic value of industrializing America.
• What is the doctrine of human perfectibility?...
• Give of an example of this doctrine affecting modern life in America.

“How an Aristocracy May Be Created by Manufactures”
Here Tocqueville is writing about the economic concepts of, to use modern economists' terms, division of labor and economy of scale—also essential assumptions for industrial America.
• What is division of labor, the organization of work in industry that Tocqueville is talking about?
• How does division of labor engender a new aristocracy?
• Is the aristocracy of manufacturing a dangerous aristocracy?

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Hopefully, you're all getting into the groove of the new semester!

Unit 2 -- The Great American Desert – is underway and concludes next Monday, January 29th. Remember to take the quiz in Questbase and respond to the discussion prompt for Unit 2 in the previous Facebook post. (scroll down…)

Please let me know ASAP if you have any remaining questions. Thanks - KT!

Discussion #2: The Great American Desert

(Please reply to this post for your online discussion of Toqueville)

“Why the Americans Are More Addicted to Practical Than to Theoretical Science”

...

This chapter is important to us here in a land-grant university, founded under the authority of the Morrill Act of 1862. It is of particular importance here in North Dakota, on the Great Plains, the last frontier—because F.J. Turner tells us that Americans, with their frontier heritage, are practical people.
• In universities we often speak of "pure research" and "applied research." What are Tocqueville's words and categories to make the same sort of distinction in science?
• What effect does democracy have on the practice of science?
• What would Tocqueville say about the sort of science we do at land-grant universities?
“How Democracy Renders the Habitual Intercourse of the Americans Simple and Easy”

This chapter also has particular pertinence to life on the plains. We take it for granted that in this part of the country we value plain speaking, informal ways, and egalitarian manners—we don't put on airs.
• Why, according to Tocqueville, are the English stuck up?
• Why, on the other hand, are Americans easy-going and friendly?
• Does what Tocqueville says have any special importance or application to this part of the country?

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** Unit 1. History & Mythistory: Participation/Discussion
(Please post your online discussion of Toqueville for Unit 1 below); Normally, these discussions are available as the unit begins,. The NDSU Bookstore was out of Toqueville earlier this week, but students can certainly purchase from other vendors, There is also an online link to Toqueville: (found in each Unit lecture page)

https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/t/tocquevi…/alexis/democracy/

...

This unit provides general information about the nature of History as an academic field and what we do as historians. Work through Lecture Episode 1, found on the HIST 104 home page. Read the introductions to get an understanding of the author, Alexis de Tocqueville (TQ) and the book. Questions about the general nature and use of the text are in order here. You may also ask questions & post comments about the lecture content, but try to make a connection to TQ.

Discussion is required for each unit of study, including introductions to TQ. Discussion points will be earned by those choosing to contribute. In order to earn all available points for Individual and Group Discussions, you should plan to contribute anywhere from a couple to several comments per week. The key word, here, is "discussion." Just as you would have an "audible" conversation with someone, the same applies here but in an online dialogue.

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Democracy in America / Alexis de Tocqueville; translated by Henry Reeve
ebooks.adelaide.edu.au

Students in History 104 -- welcome! Please check your NDSU email for important course information!!

Also, please introduce yourselves here on the timeline since we will not "see" each other face to face with this online format. Just the basics....hometown, major, and a hobby or fun fact about yourself.

I'll start -- my name is Kip Thorson -- your instructor for the course. I grew up in Mankato, MN. I'm currently a history Ph.D student at NDSU in Great Plains with concentrati...ons also in 20th Century U.S. History and Public History. By day, however, I'm a Library Director at a Minnesota college. A fun fact about me is that I've been to the Great Wall of China.

Looking forward to working with you this semester! -- KT

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